How Workplace Design Affects Satisfaction and Happiness of Employees

Good employers know that the key to business success is a satisfied workforce. An excellent employer knows that the work environment contributes significantly to the mood of the workers. In other words, working in a damp, dimmed, and cramped space is highly unlikely to make employees happy. That is why employers of today give special attention to the design of the workplace. This plays a significant role in boosting productivity by engaging the employees. When they are satisfied, they are more productive and more important, their level of creativity increases.

The latter is highly relevant to IT startups which count on the ingenuity of their engineers to make money. This is why IT companies seem to always have the best-designed offices. In reality, they are not better than other businesses; they just care more for the environment their employees spend their workdays in. Any company can increase the level of satisfaction and happiness of employees if they adhere to the following pieces of advice.

Open Space

Everybody locking themselves up in their office is a thing of the past. Open space offices are the rule today as they boost interaction between employees. This does not imply a complete loss of privacy, as cubicles remain in use. It means that workers can now walk around and interact freely, adding to the sense of liberty you wish to develop. Different departments, which would normally not exchange info with each other, will have a chance to cooperate on various projects.

Plenty of Natural Light and Air

We have already pointed out that dimming the light in the office won't get you far. The trick is to let in as much as possible of natural light. This is something that the workers want and ask for since they associate well-lit rooms with the feeling of happiness. If your office is located in a tall building with unobstructed sunlight, make use of this location. The windows should cover the entire surface of the outer walls and should be shaded only under direct sunlight. On other days, the shades should be open to make the room seem airier.

Vistor Areas

There are certain areas in the office which have a different purpose, requiring them to be designed differently. One of these is the visitor area, aimed at those people who are not your workers, but their colleagues from other companies, friends, business associates etc. The design of this room should be different and more welcoming, with plenty of space and chairs for them to sit while they wait. Remember, this room is the face of your company and the first thing potential clients see when they walk in.

A Touch of Nature

Making your office leafy has numerous benefits for the employees. Obviously, they will have more oxygen if they are surrounded by plants. The air will be fresh without the duct system having to pump in huge quantities of air. People need to be in touch with nature so spending eight hours a day in a cube made of concrete can have a negative impact on the mental health of the employees. This is especially important in less verdant parts of the world, such as Australia. For instance, an office fitout in Sydney would have to include a green patch inside the office, due to the arid climate outside. Of course, this does not mean that you have to create a full-scale park inside, but rather a green corner.


Static spaces are not something that employees like. They come to work day after day only to find that absolutely nothing has changed and this goes on for years. Just like you introduce changes to your business, you should make changes in office design as well. The aforementioned cubicles can be mobile, so they can move around the office when needed. Think about adding retractable desks and chairs that can save space when not used. Wall partitions can have small wheels so you can reorganize individual offices easily. Also, the entire workspace can be the lounge area at the same time, thus saving room if it were a separate space.

Let the Employees Have a Say

Consulting your employees on a work-related matter is a common practice, so why not give them a vote in terms of spatial organization. This does not mean that they will have a say on the design the entire layout, but they can tailor their own space. This includes choosing the size, colour, and the shape of their desk. When working on a project, individual teams can rearrange the furniture the way they see fit, placing them in a circle when conferring, for instance. They can be consulted in the things that will go in the lounge area since they will be the ones using it. The basic notion behind this employees' empowerment is to let them govern all aspects of work they take part in. This way, their ownership of projects is additionally reinforced by including the spatial element.


Other than a suitable design, the furniture inside should also meet the needs of employees. Everything they work with should be ergonomic. The chairs should have a high enough backrest and keyboard should be equipped with a palm rest. These might seem like trivialities, but the devil is in the details. These seemingly slight improvements are something your employees will know to appreciate since they play a part their everyday work. Also, when ordering chairs, you can custom make them fit the height of a particular employee.

In a nutshell, you need to have an open mind when it comes to designing the office space to suit the needs of employees. Be ready to listen to all their requests and go to great lengths to turn them into reality. This way, you get a satisfied workforce that can focus on productivity and creativity. Many tips we provided you with here are possible only before moving into a new office space, so be aware of them when looking for space to purchase or rent. Also, tend to every room in the office and leave no worker unsatisfied or unhappy.

Guest Author

Emily Wilson

Emily Wilson is a business psychologist with a passion for marketing. Researching, exploring and writing are her favorite things to do. She works as a consultant for Bannamesh. Besides that, she loves animals, music, and travelling.